Let’s Meetup and discuss Solving Software Problems Part II on a Tuesday

Tuesday, July 26th 6:30 – 8:00 PM Saw Works Brewing Company

Since part 1 of Solving Software Problems was such a hit, we are honored to have an awesome Agile mentor, author, coach, and teacher, Don Gray, come back again from North Carolina to facilitate Part 2.

For those that weren’t able to attend or you want to learn more, you can learn about his experience and everything he does, like coach sessions with Esther Derby by checking out his website; http://www.donaldegray.com/ Be sure to check out his endorsements also to really see the depth he brings.

Solving Software Problems
Creative problem solving is the essence of software development. We never solve the same problem twice. We reuse previous solutions (or parts of them) when possible. But every application has novelty, a newness and difference that requires fresh thinking. Otherwise we’d use the existing application.

However all problems are not created equal. In this session we’ll experience solving different types of problems. We’ll explore similarities and differences. What happens when we use an improper solving heuristic?

Join us and have fun exploring the world of problem solving!

Food will be provided by RecuitWise! 🙂
We will begin at 6:30, session will begin at 7 as usual, and wrap up around 8.

Come prepared to learn and participate!

Let me know if you have any questions. Looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Advertisements

May the 4th Be With You Retro

Set the goal/ context (1)

The goal of this retrospective is to look at the values of the team; openness, respect, commitment, focus, and courage, to identify and gather feedback from Sprint __, and to create action items to improve challenges as well as continue to maximize what is working for the team.

Focus ON: Agile, Scrum, Team (5)

Ask the team, “who said each of these and how do these quotes relate to Scrum, this team, or Agile in general?”

 “This is a new day, a new beginning” – Ahsoka Tano. Agile and Scrum are centered on change and new beginnings, trying new things to improve and grow.

 “Your focus determines you reality” – Qui-Gon Jinn. It relates to Scrum b/c it is highlighting how Scrum is about focus and how if you focus on succeeding you will and conversely if you focus on failing you will.

 “Great kid, Don’t get cocky.” – Han Solo. Scrum is about being creative and courageous but remaining humble with estimation, team work, and iterations that produce in smaller amounts so that the business side is able to weigh in on if they really want what they think they want.

“Your eyes can device you. Don’t trust them – Obi-Wan Kenobi. Agile and Scrum if done well are a great blend of analytical quantifiable information mixed with gut feeling, hunches, and instinct.

“Do. Or do not. There is no try” – Yoda. Scrum is about doing – granted we try different things to see what works but in attitude we DO – and then make adjustments and DO again.

Focus ON

GOAL: Help the team to think about how many things around them in day to day life, movies, etc relate to Agile, Scrum, and being part of a team. Ideally, this will also help them to feel better connected to the underlying principles of Agile so that they can become more Agile in their mindset.

Check In – Scene Sharing (homework required) Here is the homework to email to your team, be sure to give them some time to prepare. “Prior to the retro please think of a scene from Star Wars (or any other movie) that represents one or more of the 5 team values; respect, openness, courage, commitment, and focus. You can either describe it to the team or share a clip of the scene on video through a phone or laptop.”

Watch the clips as a group and guess what the team value/s is that each clip is supposed to represent.

GOAL: Help the team connect with each of the values by thinking of scenes from favorite movies where they are exhibited.

Energizer – Human Rock Paper Scissors STAR WARS STYLE  

Divide the team into two teams by starting at one end and having the first person say 1, the next person says, 2, the next says 1, and so on. Then have all of the 1’s stand on one side and all of the 2’s stand on the other to make 2 teams.

Then instruct the two teams they will have 2 minutes to come up with their own hand signs for light saber, force choke, and blaster and that they need to create a strategy for winning best out of three Human Light Saber, Force Choke, Blaster.

Then say something like, “OK we are going to do three rounds back to back. Best out of 3 wins. I’ll say 1, 2, 3 and on 3 each team should do their first strategy. Immediately, I’ll do it two more times. Remember, light saber beats blaster, force choke beats light saber, and blaster beats force choke. Whoever wins the most out of 3 wins.

Goal: They worked on teamwork, strategic thinking, and being creative, all while having fun and getting up out of their seat 😉

Gather Insights – Star Wars

Divide the canvas into four parts, drawings are encouraged, (they don’t have to be pretty, but they encourage the team to participate). The right side is the Jedi – Good side of the force, the left side is Sith – Evil side of the force. Add the following, one into each quadrant;

  • Alderaan – things that are good, keep us moving forward, increase the forward momentum of the force of the project and team as a whole.
  • Death  Star – things that are killing the team or progress, slowing us down, not helpful or good. We should stop doing them.
  • Tatooine – dry lifeless, not fruitful, we should do less, do better or change them.
  • Forest Moon of Endor – helpful, productive things we should do more of but still need refinement.

Gathering Data Empty

  • Explain each of the quadrants with the team and ask if they have any questions?
  • Remind them to put one idea per post it note.
  • Either have everyone hold feedback and put it up at once or have people add their feedback when ready.
  • Read them out loud, combine any duplicate comments, and ask if anyone wants to elaborate on what they shared.
  • Ask the team to come up with SMART Action Item/s for the most popular issue/s.

 

Close-Out – “Would you rather?” Star Wars style

Create your own or use any of these below. Print and cut them into strips. Place them into a bag or container of some kind and have the team pass it around. Start with the first person, they select one, open and answer, then pass the container to the person next to them.

  • Would you rather be Jedi or Sith?
  • Would you rather be Obi Wan Kenobi or Yoda?
  • Would you rather talk like Yoda or breathe like Darth Vader?
  • Would you rather fight with a light saber or a blaster?
  • Would you rather live with the Ewoks or Jar Jar Binks people the Gungans?
  • Would you rather live on Tatooine or Hoth?
  • Would you rather ride a Tauntaun or a Bantha?
  • Would you rather have Han Solo or Rey as your pilot?
  • Who would you rather have as a side kick, Chewbacca, Maz, or BB-8?
  • Meet Jabba the Hutt or Darth Sidious?
  • Would you rather be Anakin or Luke Skywalker?
  • Would you rather be C3PO, R2-D2, or BB-8?

GOAL: fun way to close out the meeting, everyone can learn a bit about their team mates.

Normally we have snacks during Planning Meeting, but we mixed it up for this one and everyone brought in a StarWars themed snack. I have compiled a great list on Pinterest – you can check out with out an account here. The Star Wars font can be downloaded for free and signs can quickly be made. Everyone really enjoys it!

Food wide shot Food 3

Food 2  Food 1

Help Agile Knoxville BE Agile

Let’s not just Do agile, let’s BE agile!
Transparency is the stem that everything comes out of.
Adaptation and Inspection are the other two foundation principles.

scrum-flower

So let’s practice inspection and adaption with Agile Knoxville Meetup and help me make it better or at least get a few more people to come! 😉

Just takes a few moments of your time
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HV8R56L

Let’s Meetup and Retro Notes

Retro Notes for Agile Knoxville Meetup and Retro

1/16/2016

Check-In (5) One Word

Please write on a post it note how you would describe 2016 with one word – you may also use one song, book, or movie title, even if it is more than one word.

RESULT: Everyone shared a word or a movie and why and we all got to know each other a little better 🙂

Focus ON/ Points to Consider (5) Being Agile vs Doing Agile

47248cf16bd691d952e1f623369c8a31 agile-definition agile doing-agile-not-being-agile dont-do-agile-be-agile-4-638

 Discussion questions:

  1. Is thinking about being agile vs doing agile new for anyone?
  2. Is anyone seeing any areas where things could stand to improve at your job?

RESULT: It wasn’t exactly new for anyone but after looking at the handouts they were thinking about it in a different way and saw that there was a major difference, AND that it was often the missing link between how things “should” be and how things “are”. Everyone saw areas where things could improve at work and within ourselves as well.

Set the goal/ context (1) The goal of this retrospective is to look at being agile vs doing agile, to identify and gather feedback from each of our places of employment, and to create action items to improve challenges as well as continue to maximize what is working that any team could also use.

Energizer – Agile Principles

  1. Ask the team about the twelve Agile principles. If they know it jump to the next point, if they don’t do a brief introduction to Agile values and principles.
  2. Ask all team members to stand up.
  3. Read loud and clear the twelve Agile principles. For each one of them, any team member that thinks the team is accomplishing the principle should remain standing up, but if they think they are not fulfilling the principle they should sit down
  4. Keep reading until everyone is sitting down.

ice-breaker_pic

RESULT: The team sat down fairly quickly, but I continued reading through all of them and the team shared if they would stay sitting or not on each one.

Gathering DataDAKI Drop, Add, Keep, Improve

Instructions:

While thinking about the difference between BEING Agile and DOING Agile factor in how things are at your place of employment or an old place of employment. Then think about what things you would drop and what you would add. What you would keep and what you would improve on. Please write one thing only per post it note and when you are finished go ahead and bring them up and place them where they go. We’ll take about 5 minutes to think about it.

  • Opportunities
    • Report Portal Revamp, New Portal, Portal Reincarnation
    • Team Services
    • Performance Optimization Refactory
    • New Markets
    • Rapid Company Growth – Future
  • Threats
    • Work Space
    • Non-Sprint Distractions
    • Production Issues/ Performance Issues
    • Loss of Focus
    • Snow
    • Internet Issues
    • Got an email from Casamba aka Source Medical
    • Org Merges (Athletico, Doesn’t in Scrum)
    • Computer Issues
    • Time
    • Office Space
  • Weakness
    • Company Communication or rather Non Communication
    • Performance Issues, toed to performance – overall tech
    • Getting bogged down in complex work, moving too slowly
    • Lack of Focus (personal)
    • We have slipped back into vague tickets (no defined acceptance criteria)
  • Strengths
    • Agile responses to new production problems
    • Communication
    • Scrum Communication
    • Faith
    • Team, Great team, Team, We are a pretty disciplined Scrum team, Open environment for new ideas and improvements

 Analyze and Create Action Items:

Since we are all on separate teams this is not the same as it usually would be but I thought we could still take a few that have several people mentioning them or are the most common and we could come up with some Action Items that any one of us could take back to our jobs and implement.

Action Items – not in usual SMART format b/c of the nature of doing a retro for people working in different places etc.

  1. Accountability
  • Create exposure
  • Create a process for people on the team who have to deal with other commitments
  • Work with people who go off and do their own thing individually and help them to be part of the team
  1. Show the 12 principles of Agile and help teach the team with them
    • Show one a day and discuss or do a game with it to practice it
    • Show/ discuss one per retro and go a little more in depth, it will also take longer
    • Gamify the principles
    • Teach about the value of being Agile vs being Agile
  2. For negativity/ apathy etc,..
  • Deal one on one and find the root, what are they opposed to and address it with them
  • Don’t push, nudge OK depending on who?
  • Try to find a way to cater Agile to them so it serves their interests so they see how it benefits them
  • Go slow – don’t do everything at once
  1. Companies should adjust their thinking to attract the type of people and skill sets they want to be added to their teams and acknowledge that these awesome people could also go work at other places like Google, or Facebook.

Close Out – ROI

Vertical line with smiley face at top and sad face at the bottom. Asked for a post it note to be placed where on the scale you think it should be when thinking about your ROI on the retro/ meeting and if you want to say why good or bad just leave a note on the post it not and I will use the feedback to improve retros and you will have the opportunity to share your thoughts to make them even better.

Feedback

  • Great retro
  • Your ability to maintain control over conversation while listening to responses

P.S. I’m aware that the formatting for this particularly the Action Items is not the best but I’d rather not delay getting this out any longer vs make it perfect – I hope it doesn’t detract from the content too much 😉